|This beautiful lady, ridding side saddle no less, could be right out of an Austen movie or Downton Abbey.|
Would you risk it all and re-design your life and that of your families in one GIANT leap? You're Amanda Brooks, socialite, fashion director of Barneys New York, you own an industrial-sized loft on the Lower East Side, have two lovely and happy children, and have a successful artist husband, Christopher. Both of you are having great success in your careers and spending time in the city as well as at a beach house in Long Island, but you're living "four separate lives in the company of one another..." What do you do? You re-design your life. Leave your position at Barneys and leave Manhattan for a farm in Oxfordshire, England. "It was because of Ree Drummond's blog, The Pioneer Woman," said Amanda who's own very successful blog, I Love Your Style.com, is now penned by the fire in her sitting room, offering us a cherished and beautiful look into life in the countryside of England. "For starters, I love it here. For more reasons than I can explain... I have never been more clear about who I am and what is important to me. There is enough peace and quiet here to listen to myself - my mind and my body... the tension is gone from my shoulders and the adrenaline that lived inside my belly for twenty years in NY has settled down... My husband is happy as I am,... And my kids are thriving. Thriving." Amanda's re-designed life is inspiring, and personally, I couldn't be happier for her and her family. Her new life leaves me inspired to do some re-designing of my life as well. Enjoy!
"There, all is order and beauty, richness, quiet, and pleasure "
|"We have a gazillion pears. I have just gotten my hands on a recipe for the best pear compote that my friend Laura Bailey gave me made from her pears. Once I test it (tonight), I'll share it with you." -Life on the farm: Another September|
|"The best after school play date on Earth."|
|"I've learned that in England, Autumn announces itself with fog. I woke up this morning, and the new season was here."|
"You will never change your life until you change something you do daily."
|The Brook's home in Oxfordshire England.|
|Gingy in her favorite chair.|
|"Seeing this picture of Coco's room makes me so nostalgic. She grew out of these beds a while ago, and now she has just a twin bed that's twice the size. It's still lovely, but those beds were so precious." - Amanda|
|"My bedroom. I have been tempted to change the 80's Laura Ashley wallpaper, but now I'm so glad I didn't."|
|Zach's treehouse, which is now an art studio.|
"The hunting season ended recently. I went out three times this year, which is once more than I did last year. The truth is that I am just barely good enough to keep up with the field. Having only regularly ridden horses as an adult, I really don't have the confidence to gallop full speed across 6 fields in one go, jump massive hedges and gates, and navigate my horse amongst the dozen of others surrounding me. Plus, I like to stay close to Christopher and Coco, but I also don't like to feel that I'm holding them back, as they prefer to jump everything and keep a faster pace.... People have complicated feelings about the hunt and the people that enjoy it, but to me it represents a community-wide ritual with a history and authenticity that I have rarely seen in my life." From - Life on the Farm: Hunting Highlights I Love your Style - Amanda Brooks
"It was a Wedgwood day, with white clouds delicately modelled in relief against a sky of pale pure blue. The best of England, thought Mrs. Miniver." - Jan Stuther, Mrs. Miniver
|The glorious early morning light.|
|Amanda (left) on the white horse. These beautiful photos seem like they are from a different century.|
|An early morning start during the Cubbing season. (Cubbing: Early hunting before the formal season begins to benefit the young entry.)|
|Setting off for the meet. (The assembling of the hunt for a days sport. The actual place is called the meet.)|
|The huntsmen greeting the field at the meet. (The huntsmen, a staff member who trains the hounds, hunts the hounds, and controls them in the field.)|
"I love the eccentric characters, the adorable and enthusiastic hounds, the beautifully groomed horses, the impeccable manners with which you are greeted, and of course, the clothes. The clothes are beyond chic. You rarely see anyone wearing anything new. Most of the boots, breeches, jackets, stock pins, and hunting caps are old and worn, likely passed down through generations, but still entirely elegant. The riders themselves also have stunning posture when sitting on a horse, looking far more glamorous than they do standing on the ground. " Amanda Brooks, from her blog I Love Your Style
|A time to rest.|
|Sometimes when you're young there are a lot of distractions and you get left behind.|
All the best, Rié
* Amanda's first book, I Love Your Style, is still available and you can order it here on Portobello Design. Her second book comes out Spring 2015!